Some 600 children and youth from all over northern Israel attended a joyful event in Lavie Forest and celebrated their love for the countryside amid natural surroundings. Newly arrived immigrants from Ethiopia also joined in the fun. This year KKL-JNF is holding over 410 activities and Tu BiShvat seders in municipalities and regional councils, organizations, community forests and open spaces. A total of around 42,000 people are expected to take part.
“We’re enjoying the trees and the flowers and hearing about KKL-JNF activities,” Liel Dasta, a fifth-grader from Afula, told us. “It’s great to get out of school and spent time in nature, and this is also the best way to learn about the environment and our country.”
The event began at KKL-JNF’s Lavie Nursery, where participants saw how tiny seeds develop into large trees. They were surprised to learn that saplings can be grown even during Shmita (Israel\’s fallow year) if the medium they are grown in is not in contact with the ground.
“It was interesting to see how trees are born,” said 17-year-old Ro\’i Abadi of Kiryat Haim, who was attending the event as part of an Israel Police social project. “There are guys who don’t get the chance to go on trips with their families, so this is a wonderful opportunity to spend time in nature, breathe clean air and clear one’s head,” he added.
After the instruction session in the tree nursery, the participants set out on foot to explore the forest, heading for the nearby recreation area. As they made their way along the woodland path they were treated to the glorious sight of anemones blooming in profusion all over the forest. The guides paused every so often to answer questions and satisfy the students’ curiosity. How do anemones spread their seeds? Why should we take care to avoid nettles? What animals can be found in the forest? These are just a few examples of the many nature questions that yielded fascinating explanations.
“If we want to learn about nature and our country, it’s much better to do it outdoors than from textbooks in the classroom,” declared Shira Malka, a fifth grader from Tiberias.
Shalhevet Nehushtan of KKL-JNF Northern Region’s Public Relations Department pointed out that this was precisely the point of the day’s event. “Activities in nature with KKL-JNF guides communicate important values such as a love for the countryside, environmental conservation and familiarity with KKL-JNF. This fallow year, when we can’t plant trees, has actually given us an excellent opportunity to impart extensive educational content,” she said.